New Zealand to circulate UN resolution calling for an end to Israeli-Palestinian violence

New Zealand plans to circulate a draft U.N. resolution that will call on the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to use their authority to end the current wave of violence, the country's foreign minister said Thursday.

Murray McCully told a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council that the draft will also reaffirm the council's commitment to a two-state solution and direct Israeli-Palestinian talks to achieve peace.

McCully, whose country is serving a two-year term on the council, said "the events of recent weeks cry out for action."

With little prospect of negotiations amid the escalating conflict on the ground, he said the council should also mandate a course of action for the two parties to prepare for talks in "a realistic but early timeframe."

It has been six years since the council adopted a resolution on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, McCully said, and "this council must take responsibility for the failure of the diplomatic and political process, and move to resolve it."

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson opened the ministerial meeting saying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has again "entered a dangerous phase ... (that) shows no signs of abating."

He pointed to the killing of 47 Palestinians and seven Israelis between Oct. 1-21, with more than 5,000 Palestinians and some 70 Israelis injured.

Eliasson said the crisis is a result of Israel's "stifling and humiliating occupation" of Palestinian territories for almost half a century and diminishing hopes for a viable Palestinian state.

Eliasson told the council the international community must understand Israeli concerns at what they believe are growing attempts at "de-legitimization" of the country, and fears for their personal security.

But he blamed the deteriorating situation mainly on Israel's long occupation and its illegal settlements.

Israel's new U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon urged the council to "stop making excuses for the Palestinians" and hold them accountable for the current wave of violence.

He said the U.N. should end its usual practice of urging both sides to exercise restraint and demand that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "cease his incitement."

Danon reiterated that Israel has not changed the "status quo" at Jerusalem's holiest site as Palestinians claim.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki accused Israel of "feeding the fires of religious racism and hatred" and ignoring a warning that its actions at Jerusalem's holiest site will lead to religious strife.

Malki demanded that Israel explain its claim that the "status quo" at the site is unchanged.

He also warned the council that focusing on short-term measures and treating the symptoms and not the root causes of the current crisis will only "further aggravate the situation."